Friday, May 8, 2015

Piano with Eight Legs!

J. P. Hale.         
J.P. Hale is considered to be "The Father of Commercial Pianos"  because he was the first to make pianos affordable to the working class.  
J. P. Hale's Piano Factory in New York.
Between 1863 and 1883 a Mississippian family purchased this square piano from J.P. Hale's New York Factory.
J. P. Hale & Co. New York
This particular piano came by water from New York.  It went up the Mississippi River and then up the Tallahatchie River by a paddleboat.  At Wyatt's Crossing it was loaded off onto a buckboard (a flatbed wagon) and sent to the family that purchased it.  Later it was given to the family who owned a log cabin near Wyatt's Crossing. This piano had a long and complicated journey so the J.P. Hale & Co. shipped it with eight legs.  This was done so that if any legs were damaged during transit it could be easily replaced.

Sometime in the spring of the early 1960's (sometime between 1962 and 1965) my grandmother, Mary Eleanor Wyatt, found an ad in the paper for a square piano.

She called the owners and said she was interested in answering the ad. In the afternoon, Mrs. Wyatt packed up her daughters (Gwen Wyatt and Josephine Wyatt-Ashmead) and went off to purchase a piano before the cabin was demolished.

They drove to a log cabin near Wyatt's Crossing (which is north of the Tallahatchie river).  The cabin was larger than a Dogtrot cabin.  It was a one story building with rounded logs (not squared off) and nestled in green foliage.  The owner met them and let the family in.  One large wooden room had a giant sloping floor which felt like it was at a 45 degree angle.   They were led to a smaller room (that was off of the larger room) which housed the piano.  The square piano was like a giant elephant in this small room.  It was an odd site. Mrs. Wyatt looked the piano over and bought the piano on the spot for less than $100.

After the purchase they had to figure out how to transport it home.  These square pianos are very heavy and not easily lifted or maneuvered into a vehicle.

Thankfully, Henry Gene Taylor had followed Mrs. Wyatt and loaded the piano onto his truck and carted it off to The Depot in Holly Springs, MS.

And that is how we got this Eight Legged Square Piano!

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